- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) Maryland's candidates for governor are trading barbs on more than political positions: Both accuse each other of flunking spelling and grammar.

When the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest union representing state workers, released a television ad last week that misspelled Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s name, the Republican candidate became indignant.

"I'd like to ask AFSCME and other surrogates of the [Kathleen Kennedy] Townsend campaign to spell my name correctly in future attack ads. My name is spelled 'Ehrlich,' not 'Erhlich,'" he said in a statement. "If you're going to attack me, please do it with dignity, respect and proper spelling. Politics is one thing, but proofreading is quite another."

The Republican campaign also has struggled with spelling.

Less than 48 hours after his call for accuracy, Mr. Ehrlich issued an invitation to a fashion show promising a night of "food, fashion and flare." As partygoers didn't helplessly drift away in a dinghy on the Potomac, it's a safe bet that the event's backers meant "flair."

"One thing is for certain: Whether we have another debate or not, the candidates should probably avoid a spelling bee," said Townsend aide Peter Hamm.

Even more embarrassing for the Ehrlich campaign was an electronic newsletter last week that included an item about Democratic campaign operative Julius Henson.

The newsletter said that Mr. Henson was "highered and fired and highered again by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's campaign."

It was produced by a young technology maven, officials said.

"Our tech guy can work wonders on a laptop, but he'd be the first to admit spelling is not his forte," said Ehrlich spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver. "With millions of dollars in the bank, one would think both campaigns could afford a full-time proofreader."

Each could use one. Some are still scratching their heads over the inscrutable opening line in a Sept. 23 Townsend news release, written in response to a Republican ad that flashed the word "corruption."

"Bob Ehrlich's nasty new TV ad makes a remarkable accusation without making it," it says.

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